The former Bundesliga player had repeatedly criticized the government. His wife and daughter are now feeling the effects of the mullah regime.

A scheduled flight with the wife and daughter of former Iranian soccer Bundesliga professional Ali Daei has been diverted from the originally planned course during a flight to the United Arab Emirates.

As the semi-official Iranian news agency Isna explained, citing Daei, the plane of the Iranian airline Mahan Air with the destination Dubai was diverted to the Iranian island of Kish after takeoff from Tehran and Daei’s relatives were asked to get off. Ali Daei had repeatedly criticized the government in recent months.

The state news agency IRNA, citing the Iranian judiciary, said that Daei’s wife had previously undertaken to inform the responsible authorities in advance if she were to leave Iran. This was justified by the fact that it is associated with “groups opposed to the Islamic revolution and the insurgents and calls for strikes”.

According to the agency Isna, the former player of Arminia Bielefeld, Bayern Munich and Hertha BSC explained that his daughter and his wife were “taken from the plane but not arrested”. He is now trying to organize a return for his family to Tehran.

“I really don’t know what the reason for this decision is. My wife and daughter wanted to travel to Dubai for a few days,” said the 53-year-old, according to Isna.

Daei has said in recent months that he has been threatened after publicly supporting anti-government protests in Iran. On September 27, Daei took to social media to call on the government to “solve the problems of the Iranian people instead of using repression, violence and arrests.”

In October, Daei told AFP that his passport was confiscated by police on his return from abroad before he was able to get it back a few days later. He later said he did not travel to the World Cup in Qatar because of the Iranian authorities’ crackdown on the protests.

In early December, Daei’s jewelry store and restaurant in an upscale neighborhood in northern Tehran were closed by state order. Local media reported the closure was ordered because of “collaborating with anti-revolutionary groups in cyberspace.”

Iran has been rocked by violent protests for months. They were triggered by the death of the young Kurd Mahsa Amini on September 16. The 22-year-old died after being arrested by the vice squad because of an improperly worn headscarf.

According to Iranian sources, more than 200 people were killed in the protests. International human rights organizations assume more than 450 dead. Thousands of people were arrested.